Public perception of a notable figure can rightfully nosedive very quickly if that person has allegations of racism, sexual misconduct, or just plain unlawful conduct. It takes something else to completely butcher one’s own reputation just by their own character on social media. Well, a professional smasher has done just that.
Salem, a professional smasher for Team Liquid, was mostly in the good books in many people’s eyes – he broke into fame by winning APEX 2013, arguably the most prestigious Super Smash Bros. Brawl event ever, and then continued his success by winning Super Smash Bros. Wii U at EVO 2017. He was in Forbes 30 Under 30 for 2018 as part of the gaming section. While players who used Bayonetta in Smash Wii U were often highly criticized for their antics and disrespectful play, Salem, who also used the character, was noted for being extremely respectful to opponents and not acting out in a big, unnecessary way.
Well, all of that changed on December 23rd, 2018.
It all started when SonicFox made a claim on Twitter that the character Snake sucked in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Salem chimed in saying that SonicFox was misinformed, and that’s where Team SoloMid’s Leffen came in and really got the fire going:
Now, Salem could’ve just stuck to the facts: Snake has been doing very well in Ultimate tournaments, having won one major event and placing top 3 in another. Instead, he went on a rampage, taking shots at the entire Super Smash Bros. Melee community and saying that Leffen was unable to play any Smash game that wasn’t Melee (despite Leffen having numerous results in different Smash games, on top of being a strong competitor in multiple traditional fighters.) Salem then went on to insult players such as Melee legend Armada, which only did more damage to his reputation. The drama got so heated that at one point, Salem was trending on Twitter with the number of replies his tweets were getting. If thousands of people are roasting you, surely, you’ll step back and rethink your position, right?
Nope. It got worse.
Salem posted a TwitLonger called “Years of Research” (note: there’s no actual research, it’s all purely his perspective on events) in which he distorts the timeline of the Smash community and continues to take shots at various members of the Melee community, including a random dig at C9 Mang0.
That was the nail in the coffin for Salem, as Mang0 is one of the most beloved players and streamers in the community. While Mang0 himself bore no ill-will towards Salem, the Twitlonger had really obliterated public perception towards Salem.
As Ultimate tournaments start to ramp up in 2019, it will be interesting to see how Salem competes, and how people react to him at events. His results were fairly good towards the end of Smash Wii U, but with so many strong competitors out there, his work is more than cut out for him. And with how poorly he’s handled the situation on Twitter, nothing short of constant victory will help lift him out of the terrible position he’s put himself in.